Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic influences on the production of optional plural morphology among bilingual speakers of Yucatec Maya and Spanish

Open Access
Author:
Butler-trump, Lindsay Kay
Graduate Program:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
February 02, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Carol Anne Miller, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • psycholinguistics
  • sociolinguistics
  • sentence production
  • morphosyntax
  • plural
  • bilingualism
  • Spanish
  • Yucatec Maya
Abstract:
This is a study of the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors that influence the use of optional plural morphology and number agreement among bilingual speakers of Yucatec Maya and Spanish. The conceptual factor of set size was determined to influence the production of optional plural morphology and agreement in this population. Speakers were more likely to use plural morphology on the noun and number agreement on the verb when a larger set size, e.g. seven versus two, was depicted. The opposite was found for the mention of a number word. Speakers were less likely to mention the number word in response to a larger set size. For this study, we recruited participants who range in age from 5 to 48 years old and who range in level of education from no formal education to some college education. Though age was not a predictor of the use of plural morphology or number agreement, speakers with higher levels of education produced significantly more plural morphology on nouns but not on verbs. A language-internal explanation is proposed to address this finding. I discuss the implications of these findings for populations served by Speech-Language Pathologists.